Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: bug out plans

What Is Your Prepping Goal

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What is the goal of your prepping plan? If you were to write an essay on prepping, what would your closing paragraph be about? It should describe your ideal goal in prepping.

Preppers can not be classified into one category. we have different groups who subscribe to different prepping plans. These go way beyond what organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross suggest. We all know the government will not be able to help everyone. There are also situations that may result in the collapse of the federal and state governments, such as nuclear war or some kind of new disease.

Stockpiler’s may say

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Abandoned hunting camps

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All across the nation, tucked away in the wilderness are hunting camps.  Often referred to as deer camps, these are usually simple wood framed buildings, may have a propane stove and propane refrigerator, a wood stove, a room with beds, or in the case below a single room with a couple of bed frames.  The beds are for people who do not want to sleep in a tent, do not want to get a hotel room in a nearby town or do not have an RV.

Electricity for the deer camp is usually by way of a generator.  Water is usually pumped from a nearby stream or creek and stored in a raised tank.  The camp might have a septic system and the toilet uses the water from the raised tower to flush.

The purpose of the deer camp is a place for hunters to stay, a central place where hunters check can check in their deer, show off wild hogs trapped or shot, tell stories and socialize.  This is where memories are made and the American hunting heritage is passed from one generation to another.

For one reason or another the camp might be abandoned and/or relocated.  The main building unable to be moved is left for nature to take back.

While hiking through the rolling hills of southeast Texas I happened upon an abandoned hunting camp.  I came across a barely visible road that looked more like an overgrown 4-wheeler trail, than a fulled sized road vehicles could take.

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Buying land for a bug out location

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In the forum there is a thread about what makes a good bug out location.

For the sake of discussion let’s say you want to buy a piece of land for a small farm that could double as a bug out location.

This would be a weekend getaway for you and your family.  A place off the beaten path where you and your family can go to relax.  And also a place where you and your family can stockpile survival gear for a long term SHTF situation.

If you were going to buy such a place what qualities would you look for?  In this article I hope to talk about some of the stuff someone interested in buying a bug out location may look for.  Keep in mind these are suggestions and food for thought, and not necessarily requirements.

Bug Out Location

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Bug Out Box Essentials

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While my wife an I are camping at Martin Dies State Park – which is closee to Jasper Texas – I thought this would be a good time to talk about our Bug Out Box. We do not call it a Bug Out Box per say, we call it our camping box. But it would serve either purpose.

If some kind of SHTF event happens and we have to bug out to the homestead, the box contains everything we need to prepare, cook and eat a good meal – pots, pans, coleman stove, propane, utensils, plates, radio,,,.Cooking hot dogs on a coleman stove

As my wife and I use the equipment in the box while we are camping, lets talk about how things are working out.

Related Article – Never underestimate the effect of a hot meal on morale.

The Box – My wife and I use a Rubbermaid 36 gallon / 136.3 liter green tote, which measures 29.75 inches long, 20.25 inches wide, and 20 inches tall.

After several years of camping with friends and family I think the Bug Out Box is tuned enough for me to share my experiences.

Two burner stove – in my case I have a two burner coleman stove.  But any good quality stove will work.  Please do not think of this as a sales pitch for coleman, because it’s not.

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What kind of disaster are you prepping for

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There is an interesting thread in the forum that got me to thinking; that thread is what are you truly prepping for?  What kind of disaster are you preparing for?  Are you prepping for an outbreak of a new disease, long term civil unrest, nuclear war,,, or something else?

My personal opinion, as long as you and your family are prepping, at least you are going in the right direction.  The difference is the degree of readiness.

I can not tell you what to prep for.  All I can do is tell you how my family and I are prepping.

My long term survival plans include food production, safe drinking water and property protection.

Food Production

Raising chickens for a long term survival situationDuring the Black Death of 1348 – 1350 starvation probably killed as many people as the bubonic plague.  Modern society is based on farms and modern transportation.  Where would our grocery stores be without trucks, fuel and highways?

Just like the city dwellers of the middle ages, city dwellers of today depend on farmers, roads, transportation and merchants to maintain a steady supply of food to the cities.  If just one or two items in the supply line break down, people will go hungry.  When people get hungry, society breaks down.

Lets say you went to the grocery store tomorrow and the shelves were empty, what would you do?  What is your long term food solution?

A lot of survivalist plan on bugging out to the wilderness.  I do not subscribe to that long term survival theory.

If you want to bug out somewhere, why not bug out to a rural location where you can plant crops and raise livestock?  Would you rather be scavenging acorns to make acorn flour, or picking peaches and plums off fruit trees?  Would you rather be scavenging for berries, or picking peas and snap beans?  Would you rather be digging roots, or digging potatoes?

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Surviving a Long Term Disaster

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Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalistAs Hank Williams Jr. said in the song “A Country Boy Can Survive”, I have a shotgun, a rifle, a 4 wheel drive and country boy can survive. I can plow a field, I can catch catfish from dusk to dawn, aint too many things these boys cant do, a country boy can survive.

To some people the lyrics of “A Country Boy Can Survive” are just that, lyrics. To others, its a way of life.

Awhile back I read a survey that said the average U.S. citizen is at least 2 – 3 generations removed from farm life.  Some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation sets in, people are forced to return to rural life, 2 – 3 generations is a lot of relearning.

How many urban dwellers have ran a trotline?

How many urban dwellers have skinned a deer?

How many urban dwellers hunt and fish from dawn to dusk?

How many urban dwellers have access to rural land where they can setup a Bug Out Location?

People that currently raise at least part of their food supply will have a unique advantage over those that are unfamiliar with raising and gathering their on food.

Hunting – Even a blind hog finds an acorn from time to time.  One of the things about hunting is being at the right place and at the right time.  With those things in mind, an urban dweller could very possibly make a trip to the woods, kill a deer, bring it back home, and then what?  Will there be a way to cook or smoke the meat?  What happens when the family eats the deer?  Where is their next meal coming from?  Sooner or later the fuel is going to run out from driving out of the city and back.

When heading to the woods to look for a place to hunt, chances are you are going to run into other people doing the exact same thing.

One of the big questions, where would you hunt?  Are you on a hunting lease, do you own land, do you have a friend that owns land?  Do you have a safe place to hunt where you are not going to be running into other people?

Then there are the safety issues.  There is a reason why you are supposed to wear blaze orange on public hunting lands.  Desperate and hungry people will shoot at anything that moves.

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Bug Out Bag Topics

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Over the years I have seen one topic that has been repeated over and over, and that is the topic of the bug out bag.

In reality, a bug out bag should contain copies of important papers, house title, car title, insurance policies, change of clothes, snack, or even 2 – 3 days worth of food, phone number contact list, and any prescription medicines you might be taking. The list will vary depending on the person and what they want to bring with them.

People that live close to railroad tracks or chemical plants might be asked to flee their homes due to a chemical release accident. The bug out bag is for people to grab, run, and have some basic supplies with them.

In fantasy, the bug out bag will be used to bug out to the wilderness when society collapses.

This video pokes fun at the different viewpoints on bug out bags.

Even though the bug out bag is one of the most discussed topics on a survival forum, I also think its the least understood.  I see a lot of so called survivalist thinking they are going to grab their bag, and bug out to the wilderness.

Most of the people I see talking about bugging out to the wilderness usually have very little or no wilderness survival skills.  They say that if a caveman could live in the wilderness 100,000 years ago, survival can not be “that” difficult.  If the person needs any help, they can just refer to their US Army FM21-76 wilderness survival manual.

If you plan on bugging out to the wilderness during a SHTF survival situation, post your comments in this forum thread about bug out bags.

My personal opinion, its better to have a bug out location, or have plans to stay with a friend or relative until the disaster passes.  At least with a BOL you can stockpile supplies, food, water, shelter, first aid supplies, farm, garden, hunt, stockpile ammo,,,,,, and on your own private property.

Four of the biggest issues that I see with bugging out to the wilderness – exposure, food, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and waterborne infections.

While on a 3 day camping trip with a buddy of mine back in December 2010, I did not see a single whitetail deer or hog.  I heard some deer come close to the camp site during the night, but nothing during the day.  There were some squirrels during the day, but there were not enough to feed a group of people for an extended period of time.

During that 3 day camping trip, the only reliable food source we found was through fishing.  And like everything else, that was hit and miss.

One of the things with being a real survivalist, is testing your plans. It does not do any good to make plans, if those plans are never tested. Once the plan is tested, then you know where the weak spots are, and then you can make improvements.

If your planning on grabbing your bug out bag and bugging out to the wilderness, test those plans. Take a weeks vacation from work, grab your bag, head out, and lets see how long you last.  Test your survival plans “before” you have to use the plan.

Hastily assembled and ill equipped survival plans

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SHTF Survival ForumScience channel Saturday morning of July 30, 2011 had a program on about Kublai Khan, and his doomed fleet that tried to invade Japan.

During excavations of the ocean floor, scientist discovered that most of the ships in the fleet were flat bottom river boats. River boats do not have a keel like what ocean going ships have. The keel helps ocean going ships weather large waves, while flat bottom boats will capsize.

It appears that Kublai Khan was in a hurry to invade Japan, so he ill equipped his navy with the wrong type of ship.  This short sight meant the fleet was lost in a storm.

How does the example of Kublai Khan apply to survivalism?

Those that do not take the time to properly prepare are doomed to fail.  The key word there is “properly” prepare.  Kublai Khan had his army, weapons, armor, supplies, ships,,,,,.  But the ships were the wrong type of ship, they were not ship designed for oceans, they were designed for rivers.

In the survivalist community, there are a lot of people that plan on grabbing their bug out bag, bugging out to the wilderness and living off the land.  There are lots of problems with that situation, such as being able to find enough food, diseases, illness, vitamin and mineral decencies,,, only to name a few.

Back in November and December of 2010, a buddy of mine and I spent 3 days on the Angelina river camping and trying to live off the land.  During those 3 days I did not see a single wild hog or whitetail deer.  Some deer came close to the camp site at night, but I did not see anything during the day.  We caught a few catfish, but not enough to feed a group of people with.  In order to catch enough fish to live off of, we would have had to have people fishing all day long.

One of the biggest issues are the people who fail to prepare at all for a disaster. These are the people that keep very little food at home, no bottled water, no fuel for camp stoves, little first aid supplies,,,,,. If there is some kind of disaster (like a hurricane), people rush to the nearest store and buy as many supplies as they can afford.

There are lots of issues with panic buying:

  • There is only X amount of food that people buy at one time. Usually its a partial shopping basket, or they can only spend X amount of money
  • Little thought is given to nutrition
  • When the shelves are empty, people may buy what they do not normally eat
  • Important items are often overlooked

If things start to get too bad (riots, natural disasters), stores will close and barricade the doors.  When a hurricane makes landfall, stores will stack bails of cardboard in front of the doors to protect the store from looters.

This video was taken right before Hurricane Ike made landfall.

Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF survival situation happens, whether its long lasting civil unrest, outbreak of some kind of new disease,,,, panic buying is a short term solution to a long term problem. People go into the store thinking they need enough food for 3 or 4 days, and by the time they run out of food everything should have returned to normal.

In my opinion, there are about 4 levels of Survivalist:

Short term survivalist – these are the people that buy enough food for a couple of weeks. they may keep a months worth of canned goods, rice and beans on hand.

Medium term survivalist – these are the people that might keep 4 – 6 months of food stockpiled. They may be stockpiling mountain house foods, storing rice, beans and oatmeal in mylar bags.

Long term survivalist – these are the people that store food in every closet, basement, closet and corner of their house.  Long term survivalist try to keep around 1 year of food and water stockpiled.

Top tier survivalist – these are the ones that have planned food production past one year, have access to a farm, have prepared a secure Bug Out Location, have land to garden and places to hunt and fish.  A top tier survivalist would rely on stockpiled food in the short term, or until they can get their livestock and garden production up to sustainable levels.

Can a panic buyer also be a top tier survivalist?  Sure they can, why not?

Lets say that John and Jane Doe live in an apartment, they have no room or money to stockpile several months of food.  But, John has a good friend or relative that owns a small farm in a rural area.  Lets call the owner of the farm Jack Doe.  John and Jack work out a plan that if some kind of long term SHTF situation happens, John and Jane can stay at the farm and help work the land.  Whether its providing security, cooking, cleaning, pulling weeds out of the garden, keeping animals like deer and rabbits out of the garden,,,, there should be plenty of work to go around.

The thing is, all of these plans need to be worked out ahead of time.  When your family runs out of food, don’t plan on just showing up at the door of your friends house asking for a handout.  It does not work that way.

It is impossible to plan for every SHTF situation.  Somethings are beyond our control, such as nuclear war, natural disasters and climate change for example.

Lets move past the food debate and talk about firearms. In the survivalist community there is a group of people who plan on using a 22 rifle for just about everything. Those people justify their decisions because 22 long rifle ammo is cheap, and it has a low report. With the low report, survivalist can keep a low profile while hunting, you do not want raiders and looters knowing your location.

The problem is, 22 long rifle is not adequate for anything larger then rabbit and squirrel sized game. Those people that are planning on using 22 long rifle for deer and hog sized game are doomed for failure. There are a lot of people that will argue that the 22 long rifle is the perfect survival rifle, but its not perfect for all size animals.  When hunting, as with everything else in life, use the right tool for the job.

Take the time to assemble your survival gear and make solid plans.  Just like in the case of Kublai Khan and his navy to invade Japan, hastily assembled and ill equipped survival plans are a plan for failure.

Ideas for a get home bag

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Something happened to the main power feed for my town, and then the backup power feed failed. Someone said it was related to the wildfire about 15 miles north of here, but I do not have any proof of that.

First thing I realized was that we do not have a radio here at work that works off batteries. Once outside power is cut, we lose all communications with the outside world. My boss pulled out a hand crank radio, but the hand crank was locked up to the point where the handle could not be turned.

I thought about getting a $10 am/fm radio with some lithium batteries to keep at my desk. The power does not go off very often, but when it does it would be nice to get some news from the local radio station.

Second thing was that I needed a flashlight. I have a small AAA light on my key ring, but something a little larger would have been nice. My little AAA light does good for close in work, like plugging computer wires into the back of a computer, or lighting up a small room. To make sure the battery has plenty of life, I used an energizer lithium battery.

A hand crank flashlight would probably do good, but when you want to light up a road or a field, nothing beats a good 200 lumen light.

Third, I need a water bottle to carry water in case I had to walk home. Its only a few miles from where I work to my home, so it would have been an easy walk. The only real issue would be the 100 degree heat and water. There is a puny little 16.9 ounce / .5 liter bottle of water on my desk, but I would like to have something like a 32 ounce bottle of water for the walk home.

Fourth, the phone lines where overwhelmed. When I tried to call my wifes cell phone I got the classic “all circuits are busy” message.

Fifth, even though the power came on about 30 minutes before lunch, jack-in-the-box, mcdonalds and sonic were either closed of their computers had not come back on yet. Sonic could not even serve a couple of teas because their computers were down, same with jack-in-the-box, and mcdonalds was closed.

It was amazing to me how a small little power outage could disrupt peoples lives so much. A lot of places that pay their employees by the hour closed and sent their people home.

I do not have what some people call a “get home bag”. I work about 4 miles from my house, so walking would not be a big deal.

My wife and I carpool to work. She drops me off in the morning, then picks me up on the way home. If we met anywhere, she would probably drive by here to pick me up.

Get Home Bag Ideas

If I had to walk home, here are some items that I would like to have in my get home bag.

32 ounce water bottle
Rain poncho – even if its a light duty one
LED light, something like a Surefire G2X Pro
Mainstay rations
Road map
Phone number / contact list
Rope – 550 cord
Multi-tool
Small first aid kit
Paper, pen and sharpie / felt tip magic marker
Money – at least $20

One of the first packs that comes to mind is the Maxpedition Noatak

The Maxpedition Noatak is large enough for all of my basic gear + some. The built in compartment for a water bladder is a plus, and then there is a place for a 32 ounce water bottle.

If I wanted to, the 32 ounce water bottle could be turned into a personal survival kit, and just use the water bladder to carry water.

Post your comments in this forum thread about the power outage at my work.

Organizing Your Bug Out Location

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cooking post shtfThe other day my wife and I were up at the camp / bug out location checking on things. We go up there, check the doors, check the windows, look for any physical damage that might have resulted from a break in. We also take inventory – bottled water, soft drinks, plates, plastic spoons and forks, canned goods, MREs, ammo,,,, stuff like that.

While I was checking the front bed room and closet, I noticed that the closet has a lot of wasted room. In the right hand corner of the closet sites 2 or 3 ammo cans loaded with 223, 7.62×39, 9mm, 357 magnum, and 45 acp. Besides the ammo cans, there is a lot of wasted space that could be used for shelving.

Awhile back I posted a thread in the forum about organizing my MRE stockpile.  But that thread only talked about organizing your MREs, but what about everything else?

Currently a lot of the hunting ammunition is in a closet with thin shelves. I’am concerned that if too much more ammo is stacked up, that the shelves will collapse.

The 223, 7.62×39, and a lot of pistol ammo is in a different closet on the floor.

The hunting ammunition is in one room, everything else is in a different room.

Why isn’t all of the ammo in the same room where its easy to see, organize and keep inventory? The plan is to get some of those plastic shelves like what was used to stack the MREs on, and put it in the closet. The heavy plastic shelves will be stronger then the plywood in the closet, and with different shelves we can stack the heavy stuff on bottom – like the shotgun shells and bulk 223 and 7.62×39 – and the lighter stuff on top – like the 30-30, 270, 308, 280 and 30-06.

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Bugging out to the wilderness plans

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wilderness bug outIt was probably around 1997 or 1998, some of my buddies were over at my house and we were talking about possible situations that would cause a wilderness bug out.  We were talking about an outbreak of the plague, nuclear strikes, nuclear targets, radiation fallout, wind currents,,,,,,; it was one of those brain storming sessions we used to have.

Eventually the topic of firearms came up, choice of calibers, being able to carry plenty of ammo,,, and so on.

It was at this time I pulled out a large ALICE pack, a Mossberg 500 with 18.5 inch barrel and an H&K SP-89 pistol.  As I look back on the situation, and what we were discussing, neither of those weapons would be good for survival.

The Mossberg 500 with 18.5 inch barrel and pistol grip would be a terrible choice for hunting.  The pistol grip makes the weapon difficult to aim, and the short barrel means a poor pattern.  If this shotgun would have had a stock on it and a longer barrel, then it would be a different story.

The H&K SP-89 is a great pistol for close quarters combat, but it would be a poor choice for hunting deer or wild hogs.  The lack of a shoulder stock makes the pistol undesirable for certain situations.

After my buddies and I completed our brain storming session, I decided it was time to review some of my survival weapon choices.  I had other weapons, so “why” did I pick those 2 for discussion?  Why not talk about the SKS as a survival rifle, or maybe the AK-47, or what about the Remington model 700?

After talking about the advantages and disadvantages of a short shotgun and pistol combo, I decided to remove those 2 weapons from my choices.

If your going to pick a weapon (pistol, rifle or shotgun) for survival, why not pick on that you can aim, and effectively take wild game with?

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Making bug out plans

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Flooded roads from Hurricane IkeSome type of disaster has either arrived or is heading your way – whether its an earthquake, hurricane, food shortages due to a new disease outbreak,,,,, you and your family need to get out of the city. You have made plans to stay at a bug out location with some friends, but the problem is getting out of the city.

Fuel – the very first problem your going to run into is having enough fuel to get out. Once the panic buying starts, fuel is going to be one of the first things people buy up. Everyone will be filling up their gas cans, cars, trucks, generators, 55 gallon drums,,,, and as a result, the gas stations will be cleaned out. The first people to leave the cities will help finish off the fuel supplies in rural areas. So don’t think that your going to find a gas station in a small town to get fuel, its not going to happen, everyone else will beat you to it.

Maps – as the major roadways become clogged with cars and trucks, your going to need to find an alternate route. When parts of southeast Texas evacuated for Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita, people from Houston, Port Arthur, Bridge City, Lumberton, Orange,,,, sat in line for hours. On high 69/96/287 leaving Port Arthur, Texas – people were running out of gas sitting on the highway. The highway department had to send tanker trucks out to fill peoples cars and trucks up with fuel to keep the lines moving. What normally took a 1 hour drive, took more like 10 hours.  If you know a route around the major highways – take it.

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Bug out location essentials

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This past weekend was opening deer season for rifle hunters. While I was at the deer camp, I noticed a few things that would make life a little easier at a Bug Out Location. Lets take a look at some of the items on the list and talk about the essentials and some considerations.

bug out location water towerRunning water – modern civilization is built off of several things: running water, sanitation and the ability to make hot water, only to name a few. Having a raised water tower makes most of the items on that list possible. Through running water we are able to wash our hands, flush our toilets, and run water through a hot water heater (propane powered of course).

Having a raised water tower is easier then a lot of people think.  Farm supply stores sell water tanks is sizes like 250 gallon, 500 gallon and 750 gallon.  With the help of some power tools, stainless steel or galvanized lag bolts, rubber strips for washers, drill bits,  some 8 – 10 foot round poles for legs, PVC pipes and fittings, some hard work, sweat and custom engineering, its very possible to have your very own raised water tower.  With the base of the tower just 5 – 6 feet off the ground, this can create enough pressure for people to wash their hands, fill a toilet, and maybe even run the water through a small hot water heater.

To keep the water tank filled up, pump water from a nearby creek with a solar powered water pump, or have a well put down and install a hand pump on the well.

With a “little” imagination, custom engineering, sweat and determination,  just about anything is possible, and that includes running water without electricity.

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Bug out location cooking solutions

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bug out location cookingIts one thing to have a remote camp that you and your family visits on the weekends, its another thing to have this camp prepped and ready to go for a disaster.  Having the camp prepped means the difference between having a bug out location, or having a weekend get away.  One of the comforts of modern life we take for granted is the ability to cook.  We walk into the kitchen, and turn on the oven, stove, microwave, crock pot, or toaster without ever giving it a single thought – until the power goes off that is.

What are your plans for cooking with no electricity?  Some people might have a grill on the back porch, some people might have a wood burning stove, with others may have no cooking options at all.  Some people might have natural gas – but natural gas requires pumps to be working between your house and the natural gas supplier.  When those pumps stop working, the natural gas stops flowing.

Lets divide cooking into three layers:

Personal cooking
Family / Unit cooking
Communal cooking

Personal cooking – this is a small camp fire, or maybe a single burner stove, something just big enough to cook for 1 or 2 people. Examples could include a Vargo stove, camp fire, Coleman 533 dual fuel stove, single burner propane stove,,, something just big enough to cook for 1 or 2 people.

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Where would you hunt after TEOTWAWKI

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over grown road hunting leaseYesterday evening while heading to the woods for a hog hunting trip, an interesting conversation came up between everyone in the truck – “where will you be hunting at this deer season?”  My son and I are on a deer lase, so we have a place to hunt.  But the other 2 people in the truck do not have a place where they can not.  They have to rely on the kindness of other people to give them permission to hunt on their land.

This got me to thinking, where would you hunt in a post long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation? If you do not have a place to hunt now, what makes you think your going to have one after the fact?

A lot of survivalist plan on “bugging out to the wilderness in a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation. So having a place to go and a place to hunt might go hand in hand.

If you do not own land, not on a deer lease (which grants you a legal right to be on the land), don’t have friends with benefits, or know where the public hunting land is, where will you hunt at?

survivalist camp bug out location

Survivalist camp bug out location

Private Property – Owing land in a rural area might the ideal situation for most survivalist, but for a lot of people, is just not realistic. The majority of the people live and work in the city. So if they own property in a rural area, they have to maintain the house they live in, and maintain a remote camp.

There are a lot of considerations for having rural private property – what kind of disasters is the area prone to, how far from your home is the location, is the land farmable, what is the source of drinking water, is the area secure, what types of wild animals are in the area, how easy is it to access the land,,,,,,, just to name a few.

Once the land is obtained, is it close enough to your home to maintain a workable farm, how much gear and supplies are going to be stored there,,,,,.

For hunting considerations, oak trees, maybe a field for crops, and some kind of water source would be nice to have.  Der do not need a “lot” of land to live.  Their related to the goat, as in deer are grazers – they just walk along and “graze” off foliage.  Deer, squirrels and wild hogs love acorns.  So having oak trees on the property is a prime consideration.

One of the benefits of having private property, permanent structures can be built and supplies can be stockpiled.  But anytime supplies are stockpiled, then comes the question of security.

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